Thursday, November 15th is America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.
Since 1997, communities across the country have come together on this date to celebrate recycling efforts. More than a celebration, America Recycle’s Day is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States.
Across the nation, thousands of local events will be held ranging from electronics collections to document shredding events to recycled art shows. You can find local events on this page of the America Recycles Day website.
For municipal solid waste, today’s recycling rates in the United States stand at roughly 34%. Compare this to Sweden, where they are so diligent about recycling that only 4% of their waste is sent to the landfill (the rest is burned for energy and the country has literally RUN OUT OF TRASH!), and you can see that we have a long way to go.
Even at current recycling rates, recycling is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs millions of Americans and helps advance our clean energy economy.
Through the simple act of recycling and buying recycled products, consumers create the demand for and fill the supply chain with recycled materials. These materials help fuel the economy. But there is more opportunity that is not being realized. Too much of our recyclable materials still end up in the landfill.
Here are a few of the latest and greatest recycling tips:
No more removing the plastic bottle tops from your bottles before recycling. Technology has improved and today, plastic bottle caps are generally recyclable along with the bottle! Check with your local solid waste & recycling office to be sure, but many recycling programs accept bottle caps, made from #5 and #2 plastics.
Half is better than none! Although you can’t recycle your whole pizza box, you can tear off and recycle the top half, as long as it’s grease-free. If your coffee cup isn’t recyclable, you can still recycle the cardboard sleeve from the outside. Think of your recycling in pieces rather than an “all or nothing” scenario.
When recycling your clean aluminum foil, fold it into a flat square rather than squishing into a ball. When it’s in a ball, recycling facilities don’t know if there is food inside. They simply don’t have the capacity to open and check each piece that comes through the facility.
Bring recycling to your bathroom – don’t toss those toilet paper rolls and empty shampoo bottles. Take them to the recycling can instead.
For more great recycling tips, check out the Tip of the Day page of the America Recycles website.
While there is much disagreement right now on how to boost our economy, something we can all agree on is the benefit of creating more green jobs, reducing landfills and litter, and protecting our natural resources. One simple way to do all three is with the simple act of recycling.
To get involved in recycling during America Recycles Day tomorrow or find more information about recycling every day of the year, visit americarecyclesday.org.